Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Parent's Survival Tips

Life as a parent 
     Welcome to the world of parenthood! Why didn’t someone tell you there were going to be days when you would feel:
ü      old before your time
ü      tired before 11:00a.m., and
ü     too upset to think straight

     Would you have believed them, if they had?
     The fact is you’re a parent now, and those children are yours. But, you’re not alone (lots of parents feel the way you do), and things can get better.
     So take a few moments, just to yourself, and learn how to make the rewards of parenting equal the demands.

If you ever parenting becomes too overwhelming never take it out on your children. Seek help: Inner Light Counseling
Getting to know your kids
     One of the nicest things about being a parent is that you don’t have to know everything. The job, like the child, grows gradually. There’s on the job training.

Birth to one year
     Learn the basics. How do you bathe a baby? Or change a diaper? You can learn! Read, ask an expert, talk to your parents and other parents.
     Love your baby. Give all you’ve got! Talk to your baby, touch—hold, hug, kiss—smile, and enjoy! It’s impossible to spoil a baby.
     Discover what’s what. Pay close attention to all the sounds (cooing, babbling, gurgling, and crying) your baby makes, as well as facial expressions and body movements. Each one means something different.
     Never use physical force. The pressures of parenting are very real. You need to find safe, satisfying ways to release them, but never on your baby.

     Take a deep break. The assault on your house, your personal belongings…this, too, shall pass. Right now, to your toddler, everything’s new, exciting… and just waiting to be explored.
     Childproof your house. Pack away your treasures and lock up any dangerous or poisonous items. You’ll breathe a lot easier, and you won’t have to say “NO” so often.
     Keep the rules simple and few. Your goal is to keep your toddler safe. Table manners can wait! And, so can potty training.

School Age
     Show your interest. Check homework, talk about what’s happening in school, ask their friend over, and find time to see your children’s teachers occasionally.
     Communicate. If there’s a single golden rule for parents it’s this: Talk to your children. (And listen too)
     Assign kid-sized chores. Kids this age love to help. Just make sure the chores fit each child’s capabilities. Nothing makes a child lose interest faster than having to do something too difficult, or too easy.

     Refuse to get confused. Part of growing up is acting like a two-year-old and an adult, all in the same day. Expect your teen to do this, and be prepared to comfort, reassure and, on occasion, look the other way.
     Face the facts. Your teen will probably say, “I know that”, when you talk about the facts of life, but do it anyway. As a parent, you’re the only one who can share the values that go with the facts!
     Let your affection show. Cool the physical demonstrations (especially when their friends are around), but make it loud and clear: You care!
     Cut those apron strings. Old values, taught from the cradle, may fade away during the teen years, but they come back – along with grown-up children you’ll be proud to know. Trust your teens to make it all the way!

Nothing helps your survival as a parent more than discipline. But, to be effective, discipline must teach a child how to avoid repeating misbehaviors and what to do instead. If should also be given in doses that fit the age of the child, and the size of the “crime”.

A few more specifics:
     Babes are never candidates for discipline.
They’re too little!

     Use discipline sparingly. All children react better to approval and affection!

     Be consistent. Whatever style of disciple you choose, use it in every situation, even in public or when the grandparents are visiting.

     Review expectations regularly. There are no perfect children, just as there are no perfect parents. If your children are not meeting your expectations, the expectations probably need changing, not the children.

Shame, rejection, withdrawal of affection, or preferential treatment of one child over another have no place in discipline.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Be Someone You Want to Know

Friendship brings unique gifts to our lives; gifts of fun and laughter, of memories and sorrows lightened.  Becoming a good friend to yourself opens doors, for you to be—and find a good friend.
Celebrate your life.

If you love to write or run or volunteer, do it.  If you dream of trying something new and exciting, that is not self destructive, let yourself soar into it. If you’ve wanted to take a little time to yourself, just to know you a little better, take it now. Your commitment, energy and increasing love of life will be contagious. Be someone that you want to know.

Yet, times come that may hurt us deeply, like the loss of a loved one. Those times often open our hearts in ways that let us touch and be touched more deeply. We might not want to chat about seemingly less important things. Yet we can turn to a friend in pain and give the loving attention that deeply comforts. Being there for someone in this way builds a strong heart, the heart of a friend.

Friends find each other in many ways, through other friends or the internet. Some meet in neighborhoods, parks and schools. Some practice sports or arts together. Some gather independently, side by side. Gradually we learn to take turns, to cooperate, to share and to giggle together. We welcome each other to our lives.
In high school, our lives and brains move through many stages. We turn to friends in intense connections, and then suddenly find ourselves alone again. Some friends remain—the ones that matter the most. Friendships bring joy, pain, understanding and shelter in facing the challenges in our lives. We celebrate, cry, figure things out and bear witness to our changing seasons.

Our similarities and differences that lead us to choose our friends. We tend to look for friends who seem to best understand and accept us as is. Most of us are attracted to an easy smile and a positive attitude. We seek understanding, common interest and a person we can trust. Most prefer someone who is flexible, patient, honest and forgiving. We need to laugh and have good times together. Sometimes, we are attracted to others like us in ways we would never have expected. Friends help us to be stronger, but also can pull us back down to a familiar and stuck place that might be hard to escape. Friends sometimes do and say things that might scare us. The loss of a companion hurts so much. In time, we open our eyes more quickly to the doors that now open as we change.

Simply saying hello often serves as the first step in making a connection. Finding places to meet like-minded people helps too. Becoming the person you want to know moves you to love. The authentic understanding you develop with yourself leads to better knowing of others too. Take time to better know who you are. Take the time to better know another. Take time to allow yourself to be more flexible, assertive, kind and patient. Our world offers many opportunities to make life sweeter for ourselves and each other. Open the door.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Attention Deficit Disorder

How does it hurt?
Hyperactive 8 year olds are what we may think of when we hear ADHD, but this disorder remains a stumbling block for children into their teens and beyond. While hyperactivity often improves in adolescence, 75% of these teens will not improve (in attention or impulse control) to the point that they are equal to their peers, and 60% continue to experience difficulties as adults. Previously, unidentified attention problems surface in the teen years, when the workload multiplies, independence is expected and relationships become more complex. Teens with ADHD lack the organizational and social skills to keep up with their peers, so grades and friendships suffer. Faced with so much negativity and failure, self-esteem often plummets. Left untreated ADHD (and it’s commonly co-morbid conditions of learning disabilities, anxiety, and depression) can pave the way for delinquency, substance abuse and conduct disorder.

What can be done?
The child should undergo a complete medical and psychological evaluation to ensure an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. If a diagnosis of ADHD is found, much can be done to help.

·         Individualized education programs can help the child keep up academically. An educational environment that provides structure, brevity, and variety is vital to the academic success of a child with ADHD. Simple strategies such as refocusing, proximity, and providing memory aids or cue cards work wonders for children with attention difficulties.

·         Research documents that medication can be helpful to teens with ADHD. Not every ADHD teen needs medication, but it can be effective in increasing attention span, task completion, and impulse control. Hence relationships and grades improve which boosts self-esteem.

·         Psychotherapy is often warranted to help a teen cope with the social and emotional ramifications of living with ADHD. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps to identify impulsive/inattentive behaviors and guides him toward alternative behaviors, encouraging improved skills. Social skills training can help an adolescent interpret the nuances of interpersonal relationships that ADHD hinders him from identifying. Family sessions can educate parents and siblings about the biological basis of the problem and help families make appropriate adjustments in the way they interact with the teen.

So often we look at characteristics of ADHD as weaknesses or signs of dysfunction. Yet the children with ADHD have been found to have strengths in creativity, inventiveness and imagination. Once a teen with ADHD has learned to channel his spontaneity, what was once viewed as his “deficit” can become his “it quality” in both his professional and personal life.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Money IS Happiness

....when it comes to retail therapy anyway. I recently tweeted Shopping Therapy myth or actual remedy? 

Then I decided to do some research. 

Retail therapy is shopping with the primary purpose of improving the buyer's mood or disposition. Often seen in people during periods of depression or transition, it is normally a short-lived habit. Items purchased during periods of retail therapy are sometimes referred to as "comfort buys".

According to one study falling into self-centered thinking is one result that comes from sadness. (Let's call it the "Poor Me" mentality.) When someone feels sad they're often looking for a distraction or something to make them feel better.

Often times, we'll allow ourself something that we otherwise shouldn't have. (i.e. do you need another pair of shoes? do you really want to eat a 500 calorie dessert?) Maybe not, but Poor Me, will probably talk you into it for a mood lifter.

That being said, the effects of this are temporary, and if prolonged may lead to further stress and depression as a result of either debt or in the case of the 500 calorie dessert, unwanted weight gain.

Retail Therapy is real, but it's not much of a solution as it is a diversion.

So, maybe in the future use the golden rule of waiting 24 hours before you make a big purchase, especially if you make it when you're down in the dumps.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We Can Work It Out

“Hey you know that--”
Yeah I washed it.”
“—no I was gonna say”
Ohhh yea I mailed it”

First, interrupting someone is extremely rude, it means you believe that what you have to say is more important than what they have to say. Next, one of the most annoying things a person can do is ASSUME they know what you’re going to say. It’s wonderful that you feel you know your partner/spouse that well, but a lot of times its more of an aggravation than a convenience.

::Walks in the front door:: “I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU CALLED YOUR MOTHER??! CAUSE SHE JUST CALLED (blah blah blah)

No one likes to be lectured or nagged, but even less appealing is being bothered after a long day.

Many times when couples are facing difficulty in their relationships, it’s a matter of ‘he said, she said’ or miscommunication. (Unless of course you’re just not right for each other, in which case this article is not for you)

It’s not always easy to express ourselves, and it’s even trickier when it’s done under duress (i.e. a fight). Below is a list that, when utilized, may help to facilitate communication in your relationship.

  1. Work at it
  2. Learn to compromise
  3. Seek to understand
  4. Affirm your spouse’s worth, dignity, and value
  5. Be positive and encouraging
  6. Practice confidentiality
  7. Wait for the right time
  8. Share your feelings
  9. Avoid mind readings
  10. Give a response
  11. Be honest
It's easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment, but try to take a step back and implement these, see if it won't help to resolve or even deter some disagreements.